Jury convicts man in Urbana home invasion

URBANA — A jury found an Urbana man guilty on Wednesday of home invasion, armed robbery and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the case of a 79-year-old woman who was trapped for days in a closet.

Following about an hour of deliberation, the Champaign County jury found Steven E. Taylor, 20, who listed an address in the 1300 block of East Michigan Avenue, Urbana, guilty on all three felony counts. The jury also ruled that there was an aggravating factor since the victim was 60 years old or older.

Judge Heidi Ladd is scheduled to sentence Taylor on Jan. 9. He faces between six and 60 years in prison on each of the first two counts and between three and seven years in prison on the sexual abuse count. Ladd said the sentences may be served consecutively.

On Jan. 24, Urbana police officers went to a home in the 1500 block of East Fairlawn Drive, Urbana, to check on the welfare of an elderly resident, after a mail carrier noticed the door was open and her mail had not been picked up.

Police discovered the woman, now 80 years old, had been barricaded in a closet with her hands tied behind her back. The woman, who testified Tuesday in Taylor's trial, said she had been locked in the closet since Jan. 21.

The victim suffered injuries to her face and head, police said.

According to court documents, Taylor took jewelry and cash from the home.

Police later arrested Taylor after finding him on the sidewalk in the 900 block of South Lierman Avenue, Urbana. The state police forensic science laboratory in Springfield matched Taylor's DNA to samples taken from the victim's body after she was rescued.

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pushpin1 wrote on December 08, 2011 at 4:12 am

Bravo to all the people who worked on this case. 

I've followed the story from the time it was reported, and it is one of the most vile crimes I have ever read about, in any part of the US.

I sincerely hope the sentence is the maximum.

Thank you again to the wonderful postman.